Sunday, 17 January 2010

Night Night

Historically, My 3 year old has been a bit of a gift in the old sleep department. She's almost always zonked out by 7pm and is up to begin a new day about 12 hours later. Not that she doesn't attempt to get into bed with me at some point between these two posts, often leaving me with broken sleep or, worse, with a switched on brain that mulls over everything from "would that work as a plot line for a blog/book/project/poem" to "I wonder whether Lady Sov's cockiness will endear us to her even more or whether it will be the reason for her demise and early eviction?"  Still, no-one's perfect.

We were doing exceptionally well, with her rarely getting up even once during the whole night.  That was until our trip to London, when we shared a bed at my Nan's for a couple of nights and she got used to me being there, by her side.  It is special to feel the warm arms of your very own little person, the one your body, mind and energy has nurtured and is still nurturing, wrap around your neck and breath sweetness onto your cheek. That is until they decide that they'd like to lay horizontally across the bed or that your back/side/chest/stomach would made an excellent footrest.  Then, I don't know about you, but I cannot sleep, no matter how exhausted I am and, as an older first-time mum, that's infinitely.  Infinitely Exhausted.

I have no idea how she managed to persuade me but, for the past three or four weeks, I've been staying with her till she drops off.  Actually, I do know - she caught me at a weak moment one evening when all I really wanted was to have a post-story time doze and so I snuggled up next to her and we visited the Land of Nod together.  Now she won't let me go and her dropping off time has been getting later and later.

"Tonight," I thought. "This stops!"

I read her two bedtime stories, fought with her to let me brush her teeth (she won) and then explained that her cousin J. doesn't sleep with his mummy (though I think he probably does) and neither did her friend A.  Did she know why? 

"Yes, Mummy, because theys big boys and girl."  And so was she, I assured her, and she didn't need her Mummy either.

"No. I want to keep you, Mummy."  Bless.

"Mummy is just in the kitchen. I love you and I'll see you in the morning."

Then the house turned into a scene from SuperNanny.  No, it was worse than that: the house turned into a scene from SuperNanny USA.  She kicked off the covers, she screamed so that I thought the neighbours might come round, she demanded to sleep with her toothbrush (fine!  Whatever, Wierdo!), she threw her toothbrush across the room, she didn't want Fairy, she wanted to sleep in my bed, she kicked her covers off again, she wanted her covers 'back in a square', she wanted her Incredible Hulk Burger King toy, she didn't want her Incredible Hulk Burger King Toy, she wanted Fairy, she went to sleep.  The whole process seemed as laborious as digging a five foot hole then filling it in again but, in fact, from the time I turned off her light to the time the screaming and demands stopped, just 10 minutes had passed.

Done!  Now all I have to do is put her back in her own bed at 2am when she creeps into mine and when I'd give absolutely anything for a quiet life.  And for some sleep!


  1. We're trying to get our 21 month old to stay in her bed as up until 5 weeks ago she was co-sleeping with us.We can put her down by just giving a cuddle and playing music.She sleeps through for longer but we haven't quite got the will power to stop her getting into our bed and back into hers.It's only been a week so maybe by the end of the month me and my husband may have our bed back.I hop you get yours back soon too.

  2. 10 minutes is brilliant, but I can imagine it felt like 10 hours! We sometimes go through these phases, and consistency is most definitely the key. My 3 yr old has twice been allowed into our bed recently at the crack of dawn to keep him from waking the other two. Big mistake! This morning, he woke up at 6.45 and yelled to get in our bed. I said no and he started sobbing. Luckily it was 6.45, not 5.45, so we just left him for five mins to make the point.

    I'm with you on sleep, I can't sleep with them in my bed, and it is so important to your wellbeing. Sounds like you are doing brilliantly, good luck tonight.

  3. A bigger bed? No, seriously... I think you handled that superbly. It's all about consistency, after all. I'm taking notes, here!

  4. Thank you everyone. In my experience with the Celestial One, young children will get away with whatever they can. If you give them the proverbial inch ... but on the other hand, they also learn the rules quickly as long as we stick to them. I've now had 3 nights of her going to sleep in her own with just a teddy etc and not coming into my bedroom till gone 7am! She's got it! And I feel much better now I'm getting uninterrupted sleep.

    Aly - difficult to resist isn't it? But she'll get used to it as quickly as anything.

    IaSWAaF - is he now staying put till dawn? - Whatever that is these days? I keep sending My Girl back to bed, thinking it's the middle of the night, when really it's just a very dark 7:30 or so. Oops

    The Dotterel - Pressure on!! I promise to tell you all about my failures/mistakes etc too. How's that?